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Articles by Melissa Sweet

A call for transformative decolonisation of the health sector

To overcome health inequities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Australia and New Zealand, health professionals and their institutions need to take a long, hard look at themselves and their biases, according to public health physician Dr Rhys Jones. Health professionals, health care organisations and educational institutions must commit to the lifelong, transformative ‘unlearning’ processes [...]

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Reflections of an economic migrant: one life should not be valued more than another’s

We live in troubled times when our political leaders place more value on some lives than others, says Dr Virginia Barbour, a medical editor who brings a global perspective to bear on her recent move to Australia. *** By Virginia Barbour It’s been a strange few weeks from the point of view of a relatively [...]

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“The accidental logic of health policy in Australia” – some progressive ideas for reform

A new book aims to provide an antidote to policy failures arising out of “an ideology built upon faith in markets and a distrust of governments”. The authors of the health chapter, Professor Fran Baum and Professor Judith Dwyer, summarise below their contribution to Australian Public Policy: Progressive Ideas in the Neoliberal Ascendency.  “Overall, our message echoes [...]

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For patients to be informed & empowered, they need access to medical records

Patients are often urged to take greater responsibility for healthcare decisions – but this is easier said than done when access to medical records is not consistently available. Consumer health advocate Anne Cahill Lambert’s recent experience illustrates some of the barriers faced by people seeking access to their records. *** Anne Cahill Lambert writes: I [...]

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Our conversation about racism should not stop now the RDA is safe

You may have heard the sound of corks popping on Twitter yesterday when news broke that the Federal Government has dropped planned changes to the Racial Discrimination Act that had been opposed by many public health experts and community groups and members. On Monday night, Liberal MP Ken Wyatt told ABC TV’s Q and A [...]

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What is an ethical response to the “torture” of immigration detention?

The ethical dilemmas that face health professionals involved in systems that support or profit from the mandatory detention of asylum seekers were explored recently by lawyer Brynn O’Brien in this must-read article for Australian Doctor. She wrote: “The  ‘detention industry’ – the private infrastructure that supports and implements the government’s policy of mandatory detention – [...]

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If “granny” makes you think of an older woman, then you need to read this

The themes that have been celebrated today on National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day - including the importance of connection to culture for children’s wellbeing – must become part of the every-day of research, policymaking and service delivery. This is a particularly important message if you think “granny” means an elderly woman, writes Suzanne [...]

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MATES in Construction – harnessing the mateship culture to prevent suicide

Matthew Giles reports: As part of the 2014 National Suicide Prevention Conference in Perth last week, Suicide Prevention Australia presented the LiFE Awards for Excellence in Suicide Prevention.  Among the usual crowd of public health professionals, doctors and academics was John Brady, a former construction worker and small business owner, whose organisation MATES in Construction [...]

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Learning how to prevent suicide by listening to the voices of experience

Matthew Giles reports: One of the concepts that will endure beyond the bounds of the 2014 National Suicide Prevention Conference is the value of learning from the lived experience of suicide. Throughout the conference, attendees and presenters alike emphasised the need to include in research and prevention programs the voices of people who have survived [...]

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“We have a voice, and people are listening” – wrapping #IPCHIV14 and #AIDS2014

Marie McInerney reports: Among the stars at AIDS 2014, the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, were Bill Clinton, Bob Geldof and, perhaps lesser known outside HIV circles, Professor Françoise Barré Sinoussi, outgoing President of the International AIDS Society (IAS) and the Nobel Laureate who co-discovered HIV. So Simoussi’s formal visit to the Indigenous Networking [...]

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